'Untitled', Arabella Stewart

Painting showing the roof of cottage, the bottom half of the cottage is obscured by a black rectangular shape

Oil on aluminium, 10 x 15cm, 2005

Artist's statement

In my work I explore the nature of landscape painting and its association with photography, using visual space to challenge the perception of space.

In this painting stands a cottage. A glossy black barrier obscures the lower part of it. Why is it there? Is it even meant to be there? Maybe it’s a mistake. What is behind it? What has been added? Maybe there is nothing under the black at all and the rest of the cottage does not exist. Does the cottage exist? These are questions for the viewer to ask - but they don’t get an answer. The title gives nothing away.

I want to make the viewing experience difficult. Scale is very important. The small size makes one endeavour to get up close, but intimacy is forbidden because the viewer is forever blocked from seeing the whole picture. They are drawn in and then stopped. The black space intervenes and the image remains impenetrable. The viewer is not in control.


Arabella Stewart studied at Wimbledon School of Art London 2001-05. Her exhibitions include Hans Brinker Budget Trophy Hans Brinker Hotel Amsterdam 2004, Black Wool Sweatshop (Art) Wimbledon School of Art Degree Show Wimbledon School of Art London 2005, Free Range The Old Truman Brewery London 2005 and About Face Tunbridge Wells Library & Art Gallery Tunbridge Wells 2006.